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Vegetarian Thai Peanut Enchiladas May 26, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, vegetarian.
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I saw a recipe for chicken peanut enchiladas on one of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking, a while ago.  I bookmarked it and promptly forgot about it, until it resurfaced in a search this week.  It looked really interesting, and I thought a vegetarian version would be just as good.  Check out the original post if you are a meat-eater (and for a picture—-I made this dish when I had a friend over, and we got so wrapped up in our conversation I completely forgot to take a picture of it!)

I subbed crumbled tempeh for the chicken and modified the vegetables using what I had in the house.  It was really, really good—who would’ve thought peanut sauce and melted cheese would go so well together??!

As soon as I make this again, I will be sure to post a picture, but in the meantime, just trust me on this one.  🙂  As it is written, it makes enough for two servings.  Double the ingredients listed if you want leftovers!  I wish I would have.

Vegetarian Thai Peanut Enchiladas
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
1 large carrot (julienned)
4 oz tempeh, crumbled
1 handful spinach (chopped)
1 cup spicy Thai peanut sauce (either homemade or store-bought; if you are going store-bought, I like the San-J brand)
4 (8 inch) tortillas
1 cup jack and cheddar cheese (grated)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Slice up your red pepper and carrot, and saute in a little olive oil until tender.  Add the crumbled tempeh and continue to saute until it is a little browned.  Add the chopped green onion and spinach, and saute until just wilted.  Remove from the heat, and stir in 1/2 cup peanut sauce.

In a small baking dish (I used an 8×8 brownie dish, and four enchiladas fit perfectly), lightly drizzle peanut sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with a quarter of the tempeh-veggie mixture, roll it up, and place it seam-side down in the baking dish, on top of the peanut sauce.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Drizzle some more peanut sauce on top of the rolled-up enchiladas, top with the shredded cheese and cilantro, and bake in the oven until the cheese on top is golden and melted.

Crab and Boursin Spring Lasagna May 16, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, fish, good for a group.
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A week before Mother’s Day, I started thinking about what to make for our now-annual family get-together at our house.  For the past few years, both Ryan’s family and my family have come over for a Mother’s Day dinner, and I wanted to make something that we haven’t made before, something that would please everyone, and something that would make enough for ten people to eat.  I think the past few years we made salmon one year, spinach artichoke pies another, and enchiladas for some other family gathering, but no lasagna or pasta dishes.

I remembered seeing a segment on the news a while back where a chef from 24 Grille in Detroit made a seemingly easy-to-make crab lasagna roll-up.  I googled it, and came across this recipe and video.  If you read the recipe and watch the video, you’ll notice that the way the recipe is written up is not at all like it is done in the video.  I debated for a day or two whether I should scrimmage the recipe before making it on Mother’s Day but ultimately decided not to, because it makes a lot of food and Ryan would be the only one eating it.  How hard could it be, right?  I even had a video to follow!

Well…it didn’t turn out like the roll-ups in the video.   I went from Plan A to Plan oh-my-god-what-am-I-going-to-do and feared I might have to go to Plan order-a-pizza.  But in the end, it all turned out!!  And it turned out great!  I ended up making a big pan of lasagna, and used no-boil lasagna noodles instead of the pre-boiled ones.  It looked realllllly soupy before it went into the oven, and I was SURE we’d be eating Hot-and-Ready pizzas for dinner, but somehow, miraculously, it all turned out.  I think it was the use of the no-boil noodles.  They soaked up a lot of the excess moisture as the lasagna baked and it was set up perfectly when it was time for it to come out of the oven.

Oh, a note—I made a mini vegetarian version of this for myself at the same time.  I mixed a portion of the cooked vegetables described below with boursin cheese, and layered the veggies and boursin alternately with sauce and noodles, and topped it all with cheese before baking.

Crab and Boursin Spring Lasagna
(Printable Recipe)

crab lasagna

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (or about 22-24 ounces) of crab meat
16 ounces Boursin cheese
Sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch segments
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch segments
2 zucchini, diced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
24 ounces marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
1 package Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles

Method:

Chop the asparagus, carrots, and zucchini into 1/2-inch segments.  Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan, and cook the veggies, basil, thyme, and a little salt and peper over medium heat until tender-crisp.  Remove from the heat and set aside while you get the crab ready.

In a small sauce pan, melt the boursin over low heat, stirring frequently.  You don’t want it to be liquidy, but soft enough to make it easily spreadable.

Meanwhile, in yet another pan (or the veggie one cleaned out), heat a little olive oil.  Drain the crab (if necessary) and cook in the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes.  Sprinkle in some Old Bay seasoning.  When the boursin cheese is sufficiently melted, stir the crab into the cheese.

Prep a 9 x 13 lasagna pan by spraying it lightly with oil.  Spread 1/2 cup marinara on the bottom.  Layer your first layer of noodles on top of the marinara.  Spread a layer of crab/boursin on top of that.  Top with half of the veggies, some sauce, and then another layer of noodles.  Repeat by spreading the crab/boursin on top of the noodles, sprinkling the remaining veggies on top of that, layering another layer of noodles, topping THOSE noodles with sauce, and finally, sprinkling the shredded Italian blend cheese on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Watch to see when the cheese is nicely browned, it should be done then.  Remove from the oven and let it rest at least 10 minutes to allow it to set.


Easy Vegetarian French Onion Soup May 10, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in soup, vegetarian.
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I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years, but have always had a love for French Onion soup.  Almost all French Onion soup is made with beef broth, and delicious as it may be, it’s sadly not vegetarian.   So as much as I love French Onion soup, I rarely eat it, but I saw a picture of it recently and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It’s probably the pregnancy doing this but once I get fixated on wanting to eat a certain thing, I won’t be satisfied by anything else until I have it.

Making the soup takes a little while, but a lot of it is hands-off time while the onions cook down.

Easy Vegetarian French Onion Soup
(Makes four servings)

vegetarian french onion soup

Ingredients:
Two large Spanish onions, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups non-beef broth (if you can’t specifically find the “non-beef” bullion cubes, four cups of a nice vegetarian or mushroom broth would work)
Sprinkle of thyme and black pepper
1/3 cup miso
4 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
1 cup grated swiss cheese


Method:

First up, peel your onions and slice them realllllly thin.  The thinner the better.  If you have a mandolin, now is the time to use it!

cut up onions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot (I used my dutch oven) over low heat.  Add the onions to the pot, stir, and continue to cook over low heat for at least 30-45 minutes.  Stir occasionally so the onions on the bottom don’t burn.  They should turn limp, and start to carmelize.  

While the onions are cooking, heat up your broth.  When it is hot but not boiling, stir in the miso, thyme, and black pepper.  Keep over low heat until the onions are done.

Now is also a good time to pre-heat your oven.  Set it to 375 degrees and get out four oven-safe bowls.

When your onions are done, add the broth to the onions and heat together over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.  Ladle a quarter of the onion and broth into each of the four oven-safe bowls.  Top each bowl with a piece of sourdough bread, and top the bread with some grated swiss.  A little more pepper on top isn’t a bad touch.

Heat the four bowls in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browned.  Make sure you let them cool a little before eating! 

Best New (to me) Thing: Tiseo’s Pizza Dough May 7, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in products, uncategorized.
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Tiseo's pizza dough

We make pizza a LOT.  A green pizza at least once every other week, I’d say.  I rarely spend the time to make my own dough (I know!  Bad Ang!) and rely on Trader Joe’s bagged dough for our crust needs.  The other day, I was at Western Market in Ferndale and came across bags and bags of Tiseo’s pizza dough hidden way back in the freezer section, in the farthest case, on the bottom shelf.  The dough is $1.29 for a 16 oz bag there, I think.  I brought home two bags and figured we’d give it a try. The dough is frozen solid, but if you leave it in the refrigerator overnight, it thaws out just fine.

Yesterday was another pizza night, and you know what?  Tiseo’s dough is LIGHT YEARS better than Trader Joe’s!!   It is more elastic, easier to roll out (no holes from stretching it too far), holds it’s shape better, gets crispier, turns a really nice shade of golden brown when it cooks, and just tastes better overall than any of the three doughs Trader Joe’s sells.  I like that it’s a local company, too (make in Sterling Heights), and it is really convenient just to keep a few balls of dough in the freezer.

So, there you go.  I’ve tried for years with Trader Joe’s and had what I thought was  a pretty good system down to make it turn out decent (letting it warm up, pre-baking it, not using a rolling pin, etc), but it’s so temperamental, and you never really know how each bag of dough is going to react to the same elements.  I’m glad I found something that is more reliable and delicious.